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By Akbar Ganji

Akbar Ganji, referred to as through a few "Iran's most renowned dissident," was once a member of the Islamic progressive defend Corps. yet, afflicted by way of the regime's repressive nature, he grew to become an investigative journalist within the Nineties, writing for Iran's pro-democracy newspapers. such a lot significantly, he traced the murders of dissident intellectuals to Iran's mystery provider. In 2000 Ganji used to be arrested, sentenced to 6 years in criminal, and banned from operating as a journalist. His eighty-day starvation strike in the course of his final 12 months in felony mobilized the foreign human rights neighborhood. the line to Democracy in Iran, Ganji's first publication in English, demonstrates his lifelong dedication to human rights and democracy. A passionate demand common human rights and the ideal to democracy from a Muslim viewpoint, it lays out the targets and technique of Iran's democracy move, why women's rights trump a few interpretations of Islamic legislations, and the way the West will help advertise democracy in Iran (he strongly opposes U.S. intervention) and different Islamic nations. in the course of the publication Ganji argues constantly for common rights in response to our universal humanity (and he believes the world's religions help that idea). yet his arguments by no means veer into abstraction; they're rooted deeply within the realities of lifestyles in Islamic nations, and supply a transparent photo of the probabilities for and stumbling blocks to enhancing human rights and selling democracy within the Muslim international. considering that his liberate from felony in March 2006, Akbar Ganji has been touring outdoors Iran, assembly with intellectuals and activists within the foreign human rights neighborhood. he's presently dwelling within the United States."Ganji is going past faith, ethnicity, or nationality in spotting universality of innovations equivalent to democracy and human rights. hence he brings Iran again to the area, allying himself with democratic components in his kingdom it doesn't matter what their creed, and drawing freely upon the writings of democratic thinkers within the West."--Azar Nafisi, writer of examining Lolita in Tehran

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We must not be timid or small-minded, even when we are weak. At every step we must think of moral victory. We can create a new psychology, leading to activism on a grand social scale. And only thus can we change the fight for freedom from a desperate fantasy to a lively, hopeful, and creative struggle.

The 19 rights of the Other are complementary to my own rights. I must fight for the rights of those who have no right to speak, no right to live as they wish, those who are humiliated, and those who are deemed second-class citizens. We can thus see that if the struggle for human rights is intertwined with the democratic struggle, then genuine social progress is possible. Some in Iran in recent years have claimed that in the age of modernity there is a division of labor, and that intellectuals should not pay the price for what should be the people’s own responsibility, or the responsibility of civic institutions that defend human rights.

Our utilitarianism is not of the positive or classic type associated with Jeremy Bentham; instead it is similar to the negative utilitarianism advocated by Karl Popper. We do not focus on affording the maximum pleasure or utility to the maximum number of people. Rather, we humbly suggest that our goal should be the greatest reduction of pain and suffering for the largest number of people. And we are referring to the kind of experience the people themselves consider painful, rather than those declared to be painful by ideologies and doctrines.

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